Jun 2, 2008 12:17am
LATE TO THE PARTY: December '77, Winterland Run (Definitely NOT Non-Dead)
well, it's new to me anyway:
THE JUST EXACTLY PERFECT BROTHERS BAND (12/27, 29, 30, 31, 1977):
Nite 1: 12/27/77 The Warm-up Gig (their last set was more than six weeks prior, 11/6 Binghamton NY)
.....the candyman comes around and the hook is in, the band swells, jerry pulls off some sort of aquatic re-entry, the foam retreats on the tide and a few bubbles rise to the surface.... the arena sways. FOTD gets the same attention..... it is the "warm-up" gig, they work out the kinks on carefully chosen material, dial in the sound system, BOBBY plays some really nice stuff behind the verse -- a very warm tone is what they're going for, and getting it too -- real tender vocals form jerry.
time to get loose! the carefully played, purposeful first set finally gives way on the last selection to a hectic Music Never Stopped -- Phil and the drummers dig in to one last up-tempo number before the break -- Donna sounds very fine -- Jer sounds behind on his quick fire leads, trying to catch up to the more excited ones.... leave 'em wanting more!... time for a break
they come back with one of their best versions of Cold Rain & Snow -- Jerry seems very focused on his vocal delivery and leads Bobby and Donna through the chorus --
lazy lightning>supplication comes off note for note, jerry now keeping up with the tempo just fine, injecting some fine double time runs. they keep up the pace with an energetic, well-sung Scarlet and transition to Fire without trying anything too adventurous -- Jerry continues offering up flawless vocals, but not pushing too hard -- steady and rolling on his solo as well, Bobby and Keith pop up here and there with some nice backing -- Jerry's vocals on the last verse, the way he trails off of some notes, like on the "fall to the floor" line -- it is the subtle characteristic to his voice that is so appealing and unique -- the last verse raises this version above the average.
ESTIMATED: great interaction between phil and keith and then Keith breaks out the Clavinet! where've i been? WILD!!!! i find it very effective, he plays the clav and the electric piano at the same time, to nice effect..... more great stuff from Keith as the vocal jam winds down, he works the clav back in and starts pushing garcia a little -- matching jer's underwater tone with his own -- listen as keith starts speaking up around the 8 minute mark. poised for eyes, jerry gives the sign and into He's Gone they go..... the jam dissipates out of the vocal outro.... and they need to regroup.
Truckin': time to drive it home baby! jerry turns it up to 10 for a raucous mid song jam -- things dwindle down to the barest thread of truckin in the last minutes and jerry turns to "space sound" to completely dissolve the thing -- as has been his want all night he has been more interested with telling us a story and so into WHARF RAT we go -- (with faint hints of Heaven Help the Fool along the way !!): Jerry really coaxed all he could out of Wharf Rat in '77 -- his vocal here is flawless and measured -- the arrangement on the opening verses is particularly naked -- as only the most basic support is offered. under garcia's watchful eye, bobby and donna make it through the chorus w/o completely ruining the mood -- jerry proves he could just overpower them when he had to -- but that was never really his style. our main protagonist heads for the skies on his uplifting final solo, not quite breaking into the stratosphere, he manages to at least get into the clean air.....
Nite 2: 12/29/77, Dick's Pick #10
well.... i think this is a good show..... but to be granted a slot in ANY top 10, much less the tenth pick in the DP series is a bit out of bounds..... it is the china cat breakout true, but after the measured, almost 76-esque performance of the 27th two days prior, this night is ripe with many vocal flubs and instrumental miscues. the energy is there.... but this is not (imo) a top 10. yes, the SUGAREE is stretched out...... and the PLAYIN IN THE BAND is ok, but by no means exploratory.... (factor in 3-4 minutes of 'what do we do now?' noodling before china cat).....you can pick it up as they enter CHINA DOLL -- here we have again, the Jerry of the 27th, paying close attention to the vocals, not missing a beat..... a sweet version is offered.... the rest of the set lives up to its reputation as they jam sublimely through a hot NFA...... the PLAYIN reprise proves more engaging than the song proper, and, what can you say, the TERRAPIN encore is delivered with extra sauce..... i aint complainin'..........
Nite 3: 12/30/77
after the full plate served up the night before, the boys come out with a solid MISSISSIPPI 1/2 STEP opener, just to let us know, they are in for the long haul, and not content to sit back on past gains...... as they head sweetly across the rio grand-io i am satisfied that with this big exhale, the group is back on track vocally, the previous night having presented some treacherous terrain..... they regain their footing on this excellent opener. with uncle, BOB is clearly content to stay rooted on solid ground.... JERRY responds in kind, planted, with DIRE WOLF: jerry sounds great, thankfully, he keeps Donna (and bobby) at a distance via a solid, commanding vocal.... (no out of tune sing-a-long, thanks....)
a solid, always welcome Ramble is offered before LET IT GROW is played to close the set: this is a fantastic rendition, maintaining the tempo and energy throughout -- a group effort if ever there was one. as this song was presented as a set closer, it truly shines, am improvised Rock'n'Roll Symphony.
samson and SHIP OF FOOLS set the 2nd set to smoldering nicely.... estimated is back, but no CLAVINET this time.... and keith don't poke at Jerry so much on the outro solo -- he offers up a very liquid lead.... things resolve calmly into EYES OF THE WORLD, at 15:25 this is one of the longer versions played this year..... verses done, the group meanders though the 10 minute mark.... an interesting conversation starts to develop at 11:30 thanks to a nice rhythmic MOTIF started by Bob Weir. the slide into ST STEPHEN is majestic.... very satisfying -- they lay into the song with real feeling -- i love the slow arrangement thy brought out in 76..... a sweet moment.... a deep breath by the audience and then they are just twirling....... the ending is begging for NFA, but alas, they did it last night..... so onto our sugar we go.....
Nite 4: 12/31/77 -- Goodbye 1977
it was a hot year, the spring/summer tour was all pretty much mindblowing -- and then the fall did not disappoint. the dead played three shows leading up to the New Year's set -- and by nite 4 they had pretty much played all their cards. each song performed on this final night of 77 was played in one of the previous 3 shows. so what was there to do but make sure they upped the ante on each and everyone.
they get off to a hot start, as jerry is good and limber and is spot on for the Music Never Stopped opener, taking an extra chorus or two for good measure....
T JED is up next and garcia continues offering up impeccable vocals..... twangy good! eventually, LL>Supplication closes out the set in fine fashion.... jerry really sounds loose, and like he is having his way.... crisp.
the obligatory SUGAR MAG is played with aplomb in honor of the new year, and Scarlet>Fire is unloosed for one last time in 77, but it's not till TRUCKIN comes along again that The Good Old Grateful Dead saw fit to take us on one last special ride..... after an explosive outro jam, phil and keith hook up again, and mickey on guiro (?), leading the way to uncharted territory.... Jerry takes a bathroom break..... oh well, he reappears and in a minute steers the jam into Wharf Rat..... and while the version from two nights previous was stark and naked, on this new years he gets warm support from his mates.... a very organic version is up for grabs..... and drives powerfully through the closing moments, leading to one final MAMMOTH BLOW OUT NFA, to end the year.... they took this Rock and Roll standard to new heights this year -- and this version is one of their most raging, heavily jammed out efforts.....
and then at last, we get the one tune not played any other night of the run: CASEY JONES. good night and good luck............
This post was modified by He Live's on 2008-06-02 07:17:59